Forest bathing is also known as Shinrin-yoku. Shinrin means forest and yoku means bath. Forest bathing is experiencing the forest/nature with all of our senses by connecting with it through our sense of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. This is meant to be more of a meditative practice, which is different than hiking or exercising outside (since there is a destination to get to) or spending time outside for educational purposes. This is truly focusing on reconnecting with our natural world through our five basic senses.

Forest bathing originated in Japan and is practiced as a health intervention. It will be prescribed by a physician as part of a treatment plan. The prescription to go forest bathing is recognized by employers and they give paid time off for their employees to practice.

Did you know that two thirds of Japan is covered in forests?! There are certified forest healing forests in Japan. Luckily, we have some beautiful forests on the East Coast including the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Green Mountain National forest in Vermont.

As a society we are moving further away from nature. According to US environmental Protection Agency, the average American spend 93% of their time indoors. That’s crazy! It is hard to argue against the negative impact that this has had on our health. I love this quote by Hippocrates “Illnesses do not come upon us out of the blue. They are developed from the small daily sins against nature. When enough sins have accumulated, illnesses will suddenly appear.” We need to get outside!

Practicing Shinrin-yoku can have significant benefits to overall health and wellbeing. There is data to support that shinrin-yoku can decrease BP, lower stress, improve cardiovascular and metabolic health, lower BS levels, improve concentration and memory, alleviate depression, improve pain, increase energy, support the immune system by increasing the body’s natural killer cells.


1) Leave all distractions behind (i.e., turn off phone and leave camera behind). 

2) Start with a leisurely stroll and become present in the moment. You do not need to have intentions on where you are going. You should be guided by your senses taking in all the beauty around you that nature is offering.

3) You will engage all your senses:

Listen to the sounds around you

Look at the different sights that surround you.

Don’t just notice the green or colors around you but also pay attention to the shapes and patterns of nature (leaves, petals, branches, etc). It has been shown that looking at natural fractal patterns can reduce stress by as much as 60%!

Take in the scents of the forest around you. The negative ions that are released in the air help to increase mental clarity and sense of well being.

Taste the freshness of the air by sticking out your tongue and taste the air. I know it is silly, but it can be a powerful way to connect to your surroundings.

You can make a tea from the offerings that the forest has given you. It is best to be educated on what plants can be edible. Pines are a good standard to seep in hot water. AVOID Yew pine as these are not edible and contain toxic compounds. Yew pine is not found on the East Coast.

Engage with the beauty around you by touching the Earth. Get connected by putting your hands on the trees, dipping your toes in a stream, walking barefoot, or sitting/laying on the ground.

4) Stay for 2 hours 

What I love about forest bathing is that you can do this anywhere with trees and in any type of weather. If you can’t spend time outdoors, then you can bring the forest indoors by implementing the following:

1) Increase the plants in your house. Indoor plants help to improve the air quality in the house. It is one of the many reasons I have 30+ plants in my house!

2) Use essential oils 

3) Listen to nature sounds. Playing nature sounds while working and has shown to increase productivity and makes us feel more positive about our work environment

4) Position yourself to be looking out a window if there is greenery or put of pictures that you can see of nature. Research out of the University of Rochester reports that a brief glimpse of green before a creative task can enhance creative performance

5) Grounding to connect with the earths electrical charge with the use of grounding mats

For more information of Forest Bathing check out the following books:

  • Forest bathing by Dr. Qing Li
  • Your Guide to Forest Bathing by M. Amos Clifford